According to results of the 2017 Women in Architecture Survey, 49% of women architects and associates stated that they do not receive the same career opportunities as men. Finding practical, effective and time efficient ways to increase the opportunity that our female team members have to reflect on their career progression may be a useful first step to address this inequality. This is where speed mentoring can help.
In the same way that speed dating has led to life-changing relationships for some, speaking with our Women in Architecture Speed Mentoring participants, it’s clear that the 15 minutes spent talking about their career challenges provides participants with small but incredibly valuable professional lessons.
Mentors and mentees agreed that their involvement in speed mentoring re-ignited their confidence. For mentees, being forced to meet strangers provided a great opportunity to develop their networking capabilities in a safe and friendly environment. For mentors, just realizing that they had useful advice to give reaffirmed their own personal progress.
They all also found an opportunity to learn something new. Architect Emily Walkden, who was studying for her Part III qualification at the time, was given practical advice about what to prepare for her interview. Project Architect Sarah Matheou realised that she learned just as much from the session as her mentees did. Associate Partner Barbara Clarenz was impressed by the intelligent, thought-provoking questions asked by her ambitious mentees.
“As an Associate Partner, explaining to someone how they might implement Revit in their practice helped me see the challenge from a different perspective."
All participants also expressed how beneficial it was to meet peers from different backgrounds and levels, feeling a sense of solidarity. Architect Stephanie Witherspoon enjoyed breaking away from her “office bubble”, saying that
“It’s nice to be around peers that share the same concerns and aspirations.”